Edmonton

Alberta Health Services sued over Baby Isaiah's death

The parents of Isaiah May, the brain-damaged baby boy who died in Edmonton last year, have filed a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services as well as the doctors and nurses involved in his birth.

The parents of Isaiah May, the brain-damaged baby boy who died in Edmonton last year, have filed a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services, Rocky Mountain House Hospital, the former David Thompson Health region, as well as the doctors and nurses involved in his birth.

Rebecka and Isaac May say their son's irreversible brain injury was caused during his birth on Oct. 24, 2009 when his umbilical cord became wrapped several times around his neck.

Isaiah May, shown here with his mother Rebecka, died in March 2010. (Facebook)

One hour and 40 minutes after his birth, Isaiah was airlifted to the Stollery Childrens' Hospital in Edmonton where he was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. He was taken off life support on March 11, 2010.

The statement of claim filed Oct. 24th in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench alleges that doctors at the Rocky Mountain House Hospital were negligent for reasons that include a failure to prepare for an emergency delivery via caesarean section.

The lawsuit further alleges that hospital nursing staff failed to properly monitor fetal vital signs and "concurrently document the critical events of the labour and delivery or at all."

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been proven in court. An official with Alberta Health Services says they are unable to comment.

Province caps damages for bereaved parents

"It was a very difficult decision for the Mays to make, in launching this lawsuit," their lawyer Rosanna Saccomani said.

"It was something that they absolutely did not want to do. We had hoped to be able to present their position with the insurers for the hospital, for the doctors. Unfortunately we weren't able to come to any type of agreement."

The family is seeking $100,000 in damages, which includes $37,500 each for the couple's bereavement.

Saccomani says couples are often upset when they learn Alberta law caps the damages awarded to parents who sue over the death of a child.

"There is a statutory provision for bereavement set at $75,000," Saccomani said.

The Mays waged a high profile court battle to keep Isaiah alive.

Physicians at the Stollery Hospital planned to take the boy off life support in January 2010 after they determined that his brain damage was irreversible.

The Mays were able to obtain a court order to keep Isaiah on a ventilator until a court hearing could be held on his medical condition.

After receiving opinions from outside medical experts, the family allowed Isaiah to be taken off life support.